At brick-and-mortar locations, food and essential supplies are going out of stock as panic buying continues, putting pressure on grocers to rapidly optimize their existing systems to meet the challenge, while creating safe environments for customers and employees. The ability for grocers to rapidly scale their digital commerce platforms to cope with the demand, leverage their physical store network, digital channels, distribution centers and other models like hub-and-spoke will be critical to meet current demand and a future that is likely going to be shaped by changing consumer habits.
“Traditional grocery supply chains are challenged in an unprecedented manner due to the COVID-19 crisis, Vivek Puri, group vice president, growth and strategy lead, Publicis Sapient, said. “Rapidly adopting digital transformation to address both immediate and medium-term priorities holds the key to survival, sustained growth and profitability.”
True omnichannel capabilities are central to respond to a crisis like COVID-19. Traditionally, grocers have been relying on legacy methods of demand forecasting and creating supplier/manufacturer contracts around them. Now, grocers must mitigate supply challenges by working with existing partners to develop a continuity plan, diversify supply chain, build resilience against shortages and embrace strategies like halting promotions, prioritizing product and strengthening digital channels to provide optimized customer experiences. An agile approach to engineeringsolutions is also paramount to get to market quickly, especially in times of crisis when a need to react swiftly is even more critical.